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TV still reigns in Brazil, but here comes YouTube

The magnitude of Internet numbers in Brazil has puzzled specialists in the last months. After overtaking Google's Orkut and exceeding their own world record in navigating time spent on the Internet, Brazilians are now preparing to dominate YouTube. The incredible jump from 9% to 20% of active users visiting this top league video-sharing website in the last two months almost displaced Spain as the country with largest access to the service. The impact of this heavy and fast-growing  access to alternative audiovisual content through the open source network is generating some interesting social, cultural and political novelties across the country. Some of these are reported below through the voices of the Brazilian blogosphere.

O site de vídeos de entretenimento,, é um dos fenômenos na internet brasileira residencial. De dezembro de 2005 a abril deste ano, a comunidade de vídeos passou de 57 mil visitantes para 1,2 milhão em abril – crescimento de 2005%, informa o IBOPE/NetRatings. “O Brasil é o País onde o YouTube alcança a segunda melhor marca em termos do percentual de acesso em relação ao total de Internautas residenciais (9%), atrás somente da Espanha (17%)”, observa Marcelo Coutinho diretor-executivo do IBOPE Inteligência.
YouTube é acessado por mais de 1,2 milhão de brasileiros em casaBilly Joe Weblog

The entertainment video site is a phenomenon in Brazilian residential Internet. From December 2005 to April 2006 the video community has jumped from 57 thousand to 1.2 million visitors — a 2005% growth, according to IBOPE/NetRatings. “Brazil is the country where YouTube holds the second place in terms of access rate in relation to the total number of residential internauts (9%), second to Spain (17%)”, observes Marcelo Coutinho, Executive Director of IBOPE Intelligence.
YouTube is visited by more than 1.2 million Brazilian at home
Billy Joe Weblog

A Espanha é o país que mais acessa o YouTube, proporcionalmente, em número de usuários. Mas o Brasil, em julho, encostou nos espanhóis,  configurando um empate técnico: cerca de 20% dos usuários ativos visitaram o popular site de vídeos nos dois países… O tempo de navegação também ficou estável, firmando o Brasil em primeiro lugar em termos de horas navegadas no domicílio, com 20h39min. O Japão, com 18h11mim é o segundo, seguido dos Estados Unidos, como 17h19mim.
YouTube cresce 53% e atinge 2,6 milhões de usuários no Brasil em julho
Mídia Digital – IdgNow

Proportionally in terms of number of users, Spain is still the country with higher access to YouTube. But Brazilians almost beat the Spaniards in July, producing what could be called a technical draw: something around 20% of active users in both countries visited the popular video sharing site…. The navigating time spent on the Internet stayed stable, maintaining Brazil in the first place with 20h 39min. Japan is the second with 18h 11min followed by the US with 17h19min.
YouTube grows 53% reaching 2,6 million users in July in Brazil
Digital Media – IdgNow

Maria Alice Vergueiro, a 72 year old almost forgotten actress, was brought back to light thanks to the short movie “Tapa na Pantera” [Slap on the Panther], which is the most recent hit in the Brazilian YouTube circuit. The 3.5 min hilarious video shows the elder talking about her daily habit of smoking marijuana for the last 30 years, and how this has somehow made her ‘forget’ some aspects of her life — nothing too significant, as she reports. Maybe just a coincidence, or possibly a synchronous reflection of social reality into the network, but the last month was marked by the signing of a new drug law by Brazilian president Lula da Silva, establishing that drug users who don't engage in dealing will no longer be sent to prison. It is also remarkable that the video in its originally published form did not reveal clearly its fictional status, and it was taken by the majority of viewers as a real pro-drug use testimony.

O símbolo maior da revolução é o curta “Tapa na Pantera”. Dirigido pelos cineastas paulistanos Esmir Filho, Rafael Gomes e Mariana Bastos, o filme virou uma febre entre os internautas do país… Vencedor do Prêmio Destaque do Júri do Gramado Cine Vídeo, que aconteceu paralelamente ao último Festival de Gramado, “Tapa na Pantera”, segundo Esmir Filho, caiu na rede graças a um acaso, atendendo a pedidos de amigos que o pediam para enviar o curta pela web. Para o diretor, o sucesso é apenas um “fenômeno espontâneo gerado pela internet”.
Te vi no YoutubeIntermídias

The strongest symbol of this [YouTube] revolution is the short movie “Tapa na Pantera” [Slap on the Panther]. Directed by Sao Paulo movie makers Esmir Filho, Rafael Gomes and Mariana Bastos, the film has turned into a fever among Brazilian internauts… Winner of the Jury Destak Prize in the Gramado Cine Vídeo contest which happened during the last Gramado Festival, “Tapa na Pantera” accidentally fell on the web, according to Esmir Filho. It was published on YouTube in order to serve some friends who were asking him to send the movie through the web. The director affirms that the success was not calculated but only “a spontaneous phenomenon generated by the Internet”.
Saw you on YoutubeIntermídias

Em menos de um mês, o curta, em que interpreta os devaneios de uma debochada senhora maconheira, já foi visto cerca de 1,3 milhão de vezes no site de troca de vídeos YouTube ( Em termos de cinema nacional, só teve menos espectadores, neste 2006, que o último blockbuster caseiro do diretor global Daniel Filho, e essa contabilidade nem inclui a forte circulação por e-mail, blogs, Orkut etc…
Pisamos em areias folclóricas, ainda. “As revistas de situação não sabem como dar a notícia. Estou famosa, mas, ao mesmo tempo, eles não podem comprar essa, então querem falar de YouTube, fenômeno de mídia, e ficam por aí, ‘é uma atriz que esteve no Oficina’. Zé Celso (Martinez Corrêa) é um gueto, os louquinhos estão presos lá, ali pode. Mas agora está uma assim, solta em Higienópolis?”, gargalha. Enquanto isso, a Folha liga, a Trip marca entrevista para o dia seguinte, a Veja quer fazer sessão de fotos…
As Marcas da PanteraPedro Alexandre Sanches

In less than a month, the short movie which displays the wanderings of a scoffing marijuana using (very) old lady has been seen by 1.3 million visitors on the video sharing site YouTube ( In terms of Brazilian cinema, it was beaten only by the last ‘blockbuster’ from ‘global’ director Daniel Filho, and these stats do not include the strong circulation of the short movie through e-mail, blogs, Orkut, etc….
We are still dealing with the exotic here. “Mainstream magazines don't know how to report this kind of story. I am famous, but at the same time they can't buy this theme, so they want to talk about YouTube, the media phenomenon, and there they stay. “She's an actress who worked in the ‘Oficina’ [famous alternative theater group in the 70's]. Zé Celso [Martinez Correa, the group's director] is like a gueto; the crazy ones are all confined there, where they can be. But now there is one who is like this, free in Higienópolis?”, she laughs. Meanwhile, Folha calls, Trip schedules an interview, Veja wants to do a photo session….
The Signs of the PantherPedro Alexandre Sanches

“Tapa na Pantera” is just the most recent YouTube story in Brazil. The first case of celebrity-making through an Internet viral video occurred before the YouTube era with Ruth Lemos, a nutritionist who was interviewed on a live national TV news program and embarrassed herself, stuttering like crazy (probably due to some lag in the audio playing through her earplugs). The scene was so incredibly funny that the video piece started to spread in forums, e-mail lists and in Orkut. Ruth got frightened initially by the possible damage that the huge exposure created by her ridiculous appearance on the web could cause to her career and filed a legal action preventing anybody from hosting the file. Soon it became the top searched file in the country, known as the ‘sanduiche-iche woman’ video.

It took little time for Ruth Lemos to perceive that her success and visibility could mean more than just bad exposition. Her first move to capitalize on the situation was a TV commercial for one of the biggest telecom operators in the country, where she used her famous stutter to keep repeating the corporation name, and the operator code to be used on phone calls. Right now Ruth is running for a deputy seat in the State Assembly using the same mesmerizing repetition to emphasize her main political platform topics, and her video campaign is hosted [where else?] in YouTube.

A nutricionista Ruth Lemos, do sanduíche-iche, está usufruindo bem dos seus 15 minutos de fama: acaba de se tornar garota-propaganda da Intelig Telecom. Parece que ela desistiu de processar todo mundo e resolveu faturar. Ela, que já inspirou uma comunidade no Orkut, várias sátiras e um número crescente de remixagens, agora parece ter finalmente seguido o conselho de sua sobrinha: “Tia, não liga não, a senhora está famosa“.
Ruth LemosAlex Rosa

The nutritionist Ruth Lemos, the one from the sanduíche-iche, is using well her 15 minutes of fame: she just became the newest Intelig Telecom advertising star. It seems that she stopped suing everybody and decided to earn something from the case. The inspiration of Orkut communities, of many satires and of a growing number of video remixes seems now to have finally followed her niece's suggestion: “Aunt, do not mind, you are famous now“.
Ruth LemosAlex Rosa

O curioso, para não utilizar a palavra paradoxo, é que ela mesma reconhece que, não fosse “aquele fato”, como costuma dizer, não seria conhecida nem tampouco se aventuraria numa campanha a deputada estadual. Em 2003, quando cursava o mestrado em Ciência dos Alimentos, Ruth já pensava em concorrer a um cargo eletivo. “Mas era preciso ter muito dinheiro ou já ser bastante conhecida. Uma amiga falou comigo e a idéia ficou por ali mesmo. Depois daquele fato, fiquei muito conhecida”, conta.
A mulher do sanduíche-iche-iche quer vaga na AssembléiaJC Online

The curious thing, not to use the word paradox, is that Ruth Lemos recognizes that if not for “that fact”, as she refers to the famous interview, she would not adventure herself in a campaign the state deputy. When she was doing her master degree on Food Science in 2003 she already thought about running for an elective post. “But it would require a lot of money or already being known. A friend talked to me about it at that time, but the idea remained. After ‘that fact’, I became very known”, she reports.
A mulher do sanduíche-iche-iche quer vaga na AssembléiaJC Online

At this moment in Brazil everything ends up in politics as we are approaching general elections. There is no denying to the fact that the explosion of access to YouTube in the last two months has a lot to do with the fact that politicians have opportunistically discovered this cheap, powerful and unregulated new way of reaching audiences. While some old fashioned candidates keep trying to find a way to control the novelties, others start to explore the possibilities. In the end we get mixed results, and good laughs.

Existem vídeos hilários de políticos brasileiros no Youtube, incluindo algumas gravações proibidas pela justiça eleitoral. Clique em Cururu, Cumpádi Bráulio, Samuel Silva, Paiva, Lula, Caruru II, Clodovil, Candidatos do Mato Grosso, Eri Varela e Roriz, Enéas e Suplicy e Mercadante.
Entretenimento EleitoralAltino Machado

There are many hilarious Brazilian politician videos on YouTube, including some recordings prohibited by the Electoral Court. Click on Cururu, Cumpádi Bráulio, Samuel Silva, Paiva, Lula, Caruru II, Clodovil, Candidatos do Mato Grosso, Eri Varela e Roriz, Enéas e Suplicy e Mercadante.
Electoral EntertainmentAltino Machado

There is one case where the political dispute is being fought entirely on YouTube. In response to a video denouncing the State of Minas Gerais government order to fire critical journalists, the campaign committee of the Governor (who is running for reelection) published a well documented file on YouTube in which some characters who were interviewed in the attacking piece deny the accusations made.

No mês de agosto de 2003, circulava pela internet um e-mail com relatos de que o governo de Minas havia provocado o afastamento do diretor de jornalismo, Marco Nascimento, e do chefe de redação, Luiz Ávila, da Globo Minas, de um jornalista da Rádio Itatiaia, Paulo Sérgio, e do editor de esportes da TV Minas, Ulisses Magno. Em setembro de 2003, mais uma demissão foi atribuída à interferência do governo Aécio Neves e ao alinhamento dos veículos de comunicação mineiros com o Palácio da Liberdade: dessa vez, a do editor de economia do jornal Estado de Minas, Ugo Braga.
Sobre o ví

In August 2003, an e-mail reporting that the Minas Gerais government had provoked the dismissal of journalism director Marco Nascimento, the chief editor Luiz Avila from Globo Minas, a reporter from Itatiaia Radio called Paulo Sérgio, and of the sports editor of Minas TV, Ulisses Magno circulated through the Internet. In September 2003 another firing was attributed to governor Aecio Neves’ interference … this time, of the economy editor in ‘Estado de Minas’, Ugo Braga.
About the ví

A suposta atuação do governo Aécio Neves (PSDB), candidato à reeleição, para cercear a liberdade de imprensa em Minas Gerais gerou uma guerra de versões na internet. A briga opõe os vídeos “Liberdade, essa palavra”, projeto final do curso de jornalismo da Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais de Marcelo Baêta, e “Liberdade de Imprensa em Minas”, produzido pela campanha de Aécio. Veja “Liberdade, Essa Palavra e “Liberdade de Imprensa em Minas
Internet, Aécio e Jornalistas!!  – Alerta Brasil

The supposed performance of the candidate for re-election Aecio Neves (PSDB) to curtail press freedom in Minas Gerais generated a war of versions on the Internet. The fight juxtaposes the videos “Freedom, this word”, a final project for a journalism course at the Federal University of Minas Gerais by Marcelo Baeta, and “Freedom of the Press in Minas”, produced by Aecio's campaign. Watch “Freedom, This Word” and “Freedom of the Press in Minas”.
Internet, Aécio and Journalists!!Alerta Brasil

Conventional channel TV still has ultra high penetration and influence in Brazil — 98% of the population watches it at least once in the week (anatel). And the political struggle around the coming digital TV implementation seems to indicate that the debate coordinated by politicians and corporations is invested in the channels paradigm. But video sharing services along with an active blogosphere are together creating a totally renewed electronic arena, where there are no artificial bottlenecks constraining the diverse exchange of gestures and meanings. No sponsored channels, but millions of suggested playlists generated over a multidimensional flow of content.

This brave new environment is being experienced in Brazil. YouTube numbers and the perceived collateral effects are just the first signs of much bigger changes. BUT THE REVOLUTION WILL NOT BE TELEVISED. See the playlist below for selections to ilustrate this post.


  • […] So lese ich z.B. Brasilien — aufgestiegen zur Nation mit sehr vielen YouTube-Nutzern1: The incredible jump from 9% to 20% of active users visiting this top league video-sharing website in the last two months almost displaced Spain as the country with largest access to the service. [Global Voices Online] […]

  • […] [from umejias] Global Voices Online » TV still reigns in Brazil, but here comes YouTube (tags: youtube politics) […]

  • Say, didn’t I read this in Veja this week? It was the cover story, right?

    The Gazeta Mercantil had an interesting package in its weekend section about the flat rate of expansion of domestic internet usage: flat over the past several years, and still only 13.4 million users out of 180 million persons — among whom access to television is almost universal. You’ve seen it: big satellite dishes outside the meanest palafitas and barracos …

    So the proposition seems absurd on the face of it. In the main article, Anderson Gurgel writes that the digital revolution in Brazil “is merely recreating the structure of social inequality that has persisted in Brazil for 500 years” … and I have to say that’s pretty much how it looks to me, too, though maybe ONID and an expanded telecenter program will help.

    I wonder if NetRatings/IBOPE factored in usage there and at public terminals as well as paid private accounts?

    Not to mention folks who get online “puxando um gato” …

    And I also have to say: We just installed cable broadband here in Sampa and the latency to North American URLs makes YouTube impossible to use in streaming mode … and the downloads take forever.

    Do you have this problem, too? My wife’s blog lives on a server in the U.S., too, and readers started complaining a few weeks ago that it was very slow to load.

  • Veja’s edition came out on Saturday (09/09) and had ‘YouTube’ on its cover, but the present post was published on Friday (09/08). I haven’t read the magazine’s article as I have stopped reading Veja for some time now, but I believe that the approaches are quite different.

    Do you really think newspapers are in the best position to evaluate what’s happening on the web? From my point of view they will always provide the conservative analysis on such facts. On the other hand, it sounds obvious to me that a perspective built on blog quotations will naturally present a more radical view on the social changes brought by the Internet.

    For me, the real interesting thing about our present time is the possibility of having both perspectives (and many others) available so that we can listen to them all and debate. Thanks for commenting.

  • Rafael

    To: Colin Brayton

    “Brasil deve atingir base de 37 milhões de internautas até o final de 2007”

    “Brazil will reach 37 million internet users by the end of 2007”

    Just trying to clear things up.

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